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THE SCOOP | Banff Centre Extends Barry Shiffman’s Tenure As Director Of BISQC Until 2028

By Anya Wassenberg on January 31, 2023

Barry Shiffman (Photo: Stuart Lowe)
Barry Shiffman (Photo: Stuart Lowe)

The Banff Centre has announced the re-appointment of Barry Shiffman as Director of the Banff International String Quartet Competition (BISQC) and Festival. He will now hold that position through 2028.

Janice Price, Banff Centre CEO and President, commented in a media statement. “Barry’s global experience and reputation in the classical music world makes him the perfect choice to continue his inspired leadership of these treasured Banff Centre programs.”

The Banff International String Quartet Competition

The inaugural BISQC was held in 1983 – and it was supposed to be the last. Intended as one-off special event to celebrate the Banff Centre’s 50th anniversary, the runaway success of that first competition led to its longevity. The triennial competition had its 14th iteration in 2022.

In addition to the competition, in 2017, the non-competitive Banff International String Quartet Festival or BISQFest was launched as a three-day showcase. BISQFest will return in the fall of 2023, featuring alumni of the competition as well as guests.

Barry Shiffman

Under Shiffman’s tenure, BISQC’s reach has been extended worldwide. As part of the package, the winning quartet is offered concert opportunities, and those now extend across North America and Europe.

  • Barry Shiffman, B.M., ARCT is an accomplished violinist and violist with an international reputation;
  • Co-founder of the St. Lawrence String Quartet (SLSQ);
  • With SLSQ, he recorded several releases under the EMI Classics label;
  • He’s the current Director, The Taylor Academy and Associate Dean & Director of Chamber Music, The Glenn Gould School (since 2010);
  • Artist-in-residence at Stanford University from 1998 to 2006, and visiting artist at the University of Toronto from 1995 to 2006;
  • Served on the jury of the Tchaikovsky and Montreal Violin Competitions, and the String Quartet Competitions of London Wigmore Hall, Lyon and Geneva.

At the Banff Centre, he originally served as Director of Music Programs (2006-2010), then Artistic Director of the Centre’s Summer Classical Music Programs (2010-2016), concurrent with his appointment in 2006 as Executive Director of the Banff International String Quartet Competition.

Shiffman has commissioned several original new works, including pieces for piano by jazz pianists / composers Uri Caine, Danilo Perez, and Andy Milne, and the level of annual giving and endowment funds have increased since he originally took on the appointment in 2006.

“I am delighted to be given the opportunity to continue leading the Banff International String Quartet Competition and Festival through 2028,” says Barry in a statement. “BISQC has truly reinvented what a competition experience can be for both performers and audiences. All musicians participating are wrapped in the cocoon of support that has been part of the Banff Centre experience for decades. Young artists leave Banff uplifted, empowered, and appreciated. As we move forward, we will continue to build on our strong foundation supporting young artists and expanding opportunities with our many partners in Canada and abroad.”

The Banff International String Quartet Festival will take place September 1-3, 2023. More information here.


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